In Windows, how do I safely upgrade to the latest security software?

To best protect your Windows computer from viruses, use the latest version of security software available for your computer.

Important:
  • In Windows 8.x and higher, you do not need to follow these instructions, as Windows Defender (the full antivirus suite) is included in the install and will automatically update via standard updates; for more, see Microsoft's Windows Update.
  • When you upgrade your security software, UITS strongly recommends that you follow the procedure outlined below. If you simply uninstall your current antivirus software and then reinstall the newest version while your computer is connected to the Internet, your computer will be vulnerable to a virus or other malicious attack while it is connected to the Internet without the protective software. It can take mere seconds for your computer to become compromised while in such a state.

On this page:

Note:
For help navigating, see Getting around in Windows.

Download the antivirus software

Note:
For personal computers running Windows 8.x and higher, UITS recommends the Windows Defender antivirus suite, which comes as part of the operating system. For Windows 7, UITS recommends Microsoft Security Essentials, available free of charge from Microsoft. Be sure to have only one antivirus program installed.
  1. Alternatively, for antivirus software provided by IU (including Microsoft Security Essentials), go to IUware.
  2. If the product you want is not listed on the main page, click Security on the left and choose the product of your choice. Log in with your Network ID credentials, click Download, and save the file to your computer. Be sure to download the software only; do not install it yet.

Disable your network connection

For the next part of the upgrade process, disconnect your computer from the network. For the instructions below, if your computer is connected to the network with an Ethernet cable, your active connection is the one labeled "Local Area Connection" or "Ethernet". If your computer is using a wireless connection, your active connection is the one labeled "Wireless Network Connection" or "Wi-Fi".

  1. Go to the Network and Sharing Center.
    Note:
    For help navigating, see Getting around in Windows.
  2. On the left, click Change adapter settings.
  3. Right-click the icon for the active network connection, and choose Disable.

Uninstall any security/antivirus software

Many computers come with trial versions of security software. Before installing the new product or switching to the built-in Windows Defender in Windows 8.x and higher, you must uninstall any and all existing versions of security software on your computer:

  1. Go to the Control Panel, and switch to Large or Small Icon view.
  2. Click Programs and Features.
  3. Find the installed security program (such as Symantec,, McAfee, Norton, Microsoft Security Essentials, Avasta, AVG, or Kaspersky), and select Uninstall.

    After removal, your computer will likely prompt you to restart. Do so before continuing.

For help, contact your campus Support Center.

Install the new antivirus product and the latest virus definitions

  1. Open the folder where you saved the new security product installation program. Double-click this file to begin the installation.
  2. When the installation is complete, you will be prompted to download the latest virus definitions. Re-enable your network connection (see directions below), and then follow the prompts to update the definitions.
  3. Configure your software to schedule regular updates and scans. Check the application's help files for instructions if needed.

Re-enable your network connection

  1. Go to the Network and Sharing Center.
  2. On the left, click Change adapter settings.
  3. Right-click the icon for the active network connection, and choose Enable.

This is document aqgp in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-08-24.

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